Saturday, November 08, 2008

Parrish debuts with hat trick


February 28, 2008. Brad Richards. 5 assists.

October 15, 2008. Fabian Brunnstrom. 3 goals.

And Friday night. November 7, 2008. Mark Parrish. 3 goals. Another big debut by a new Stars player.

Mark Parrish started this NHL season as a spectator, but the newly acquired Star made up for lost time with a hat trick against the rival Anaheim Ducks. With plenty of penalty minutes to go around on Friday night, Parrish capitalized with two power play goals, giving embattled goalie Marty Turco a nice lead to protect. Turco got a little more help in front of him with the return of Sergei Zubov, who missed every game up until Friday with injury. The addition of Parrish, return of Zubov, and strong play of Turco added up to a 5-2 Stars win.

Was Mark Parrish the answer to all the Stars problems? All of them? No. Some of them? It's still too early to tell, but signs are pointing toward yes. The line of Parrish-Modano-Avery frustrated Jean-Sebastian Giguere all night, leading to his removal after giving up Parrish's third goal, giving Dallas a 4-1 lead. (Also this prompted my buddy Taylor to send me a text message saying: "Wow. Bye-bye Stuffed Pads.") Any time the Stars - or any team - can chase JS Giguere from net, you've accomplished something offensively.

After Dallas took a 2-0 lead in the 1st on Brunnstrom and Parrish goals, but the Ducks answered back on what looked like a nice Turco save. As Turco seemingly nabbed a shot and made the save, he started to fall backward the way a goalie does when play is going to be stopped. But as Turco was falling, his body language seemed to scream, "oh, crap. This is gonna be bad." Sure enough, the puck wasn't secured, and the Ducks banged in a lose rebound to pull within one at the end of the first period.

Sean Avery again drew the ire of his opponents, constantly being punched on like a stress relief doll. After leaving the ice on a shift toward the end of the first period, he could be seen jawing at Ducks players from the end of the Stars bench. Baiting the hook. He drew a boarding penalty at the end of the first period that awoke the Honda Center, sparking a fight between Trevor Daley and Chris Kunitz.

By the way, does Ducks Winger George Parros's mustache bother anyone else?

Stars special teams proved to be a major difference-maker. While Dallas did give up a power play goal, it didn't happen until the Stars already had a 5-1 lead and the game was comfortably in hand. They killed four penalties on the evening, including two early in the third period that could have put the Ducks right back into the game. The Ducks (1-for-5 power play) failed to take advantage of their chances, and continued to take stupid penalties, giving Dallas a chance to keep the pressure on late in the game.

Last April, the Dallas Stars limped into the post season as the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Most logical hockey people were predicting a Ducks series win. Anaheim was just a year removed from their Stanley Cup win. The Stars didn't follow the script, stealing games one and two at Honda Center, sparking a playoff run to the conference finals.

On Friday night, the struggling Stars returned to the Honda Center to take on a Ducks team that had earned a point in each of its last nine games (8-0-1). Anaheim had been playing better coming in, no question, but maybe a win like this is what the Stars need to finally jump-start their season.

Next up for the Stars: a Sharks team without Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes. The Stars already have 2 points on this California road trip. Going into this trip, I would have figured that 3 points on this Cali-swing would be fine considering how the Stars were playing. After last night's win, 5 points is realistic. With strong showings at the Shark Tank and Staples Center, the Stars can officially turn around their season.

Final note: a year ago today, November 8, 2007, Mike Modano scored twice in the first period against Nabokov to become the greatest American-born scorer. All the Stars billboards around Dallas leading up to Modano's record-breaking feat read "Number 9 is about to become Number 1."
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Video from Friday night at Honda Center

The Stars take the ice
video

National Anthem at Honda Center
video

JS Giguere goes to the bench ... I discuss getting some nachos
video
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For all the Dallas sports fans looking for their fill of pessimism for the day, the Mavericks played as well last night (L, 108-105). Not nearly as rewarding a game, but newbie Gerald Green might just be solidifying his role on Rick Carlisle's squad.

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Nip Tuck: NFL rescinds fine against Giants DE

The NFL has taken back the $7,500 fine against Giants DE Justin Tuck for his hit on Brooks Bollinger. Good to see Commish Goodell do the right thing. While I thought the fine was unjust from the beginning, the disconcerting part of all this is the fact that Goodell hadn't actually seen the hit when the fine was initially issued. Shouldn't the commission know why his players are getting fined? Seems a little ridiculous the commissioner's office is issuing fines that he doesn't sign off on without knowing why. Missteps like this gives players like Troy Paulamalu some street cred in criticizing the league.

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